NC750 goes the distance
Oli’s been playing the field and going on dates with friskier models, but he’s come home to his practical playmate ‘ The NC gives you all the joy of being on two wheels; you just have to work a bit harder to find it’
You know they say absence makes the heart grow fonder? I rode the NC750X for the first time in three weeks yesterday – I’d been away on an epic scooter adventure to Valencia with our Motogp reporter Simon Patterson (read about it in MCN December 7) – but despite the wet, greasy and cold conditions the Honda brought a huge smile to my face as I reminded myself just how good this bike can be.
Okay, admittedly riding anything is going to feel good after 2000 miles on a 125cc twist-and- go scooter but it’s not just that; we were out on an affordable middleweight group test with Kawasaki’s Versys 650 and Suzuki’s SV650 in tow, so it wasn’t just the NC I was riding. While the SV650 without a doubt wins the test on fun factor alone, I was surprised to find myself preferring the NC750 over the more comparable Versys.
While I was away, MCN road tester Chad had spent some time with the NC and in all honesty, I expected him not to like it. It can be a bit sluggish, it’s very heavy and with the 6500rpm red line, you’re forever changing gear.
“It grows on you, doesn’t it,” he grunts at me as he arrives at MCN’S office. That’s the thing with the NC. There are no frills, it doesn’t sing and shout, but it is good at what it does. It’s a bike designed to get you from A to B in a cheap and efficient manner, and that’s exactly what it does.
It’s easy to ride, even though it’s heavy it has a low centre of gravity (from the low positioning of the parallel-twin motor and underseat fuel tank), and even when it’s ridden without fuel economy in mind it’ll still return 65/ 70 miles per gallon. In fact, my 65mpg is pitiful compared to some of the figures fellow NC riders have claimed they’re getting after reading one of my online reports.
While it could definitely do with a bit more power it does have bags of torque, and with that low- end grunt and lack of revs, it’s almost like a diesel! You may think that’s the last thing you’d want from a motorbike but the NC isn’t as dull as it sounds. While it certainly doesn’t give me as much of a buzz as the CB500R I had on shortterm loan before the NC arrived, it still gives you all the joy of being on two wheels; you just have to work a bit harder to find it.
It’s the practicality side of things that always wins me over with the NC. The journey from my house in Lincoln to our Peterborough is a 68-mile commute and for charging up and down the A1 every day (I will opt for a better route if the weather’s nice and don’t have to be somewhere) the NC750 is almost perfect. It’ll cruise at motorway speeds easily, it’s relatively comfortable (although the seat is sometimes a little too hard for my liking) and the high riding position and wide, upright bars make gliding through traffic effortless.
However, the one small qualm I have is the fuel tank is a little on the small side. While the NC is really economical, I’m still stopping every 180 miles despite the theoretical range from my MPG being a touch over 200 miles. Honda claim the NC has a 14-litre fuel tank, but at the filling station the most I’ve ever been able to squeeze in was 12 litres and that was after running for 30 miles with the petrol light on. However, I think the reason for this is that with the fuel tank under the seat, I can’t fill the bike while it’s completely upright as I don’t have a centrestand, perhaps I should invest in one to squeeze out those extra miles?
Oli’s missed the NC, but not the 125cc scooter